Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Idea of No 'Mo Baseball

I went to opening day this year. A friend of mine that I work with got tickets that were just along the left field line, and the boys and me all got wasted on Hoegaardens and Johnny Walker Blue, and then I face planted and had to get stitches. Good times all around.

But on opening day, Jorge Posada, who retired earlier this year in epic Yankee fashion, threw out the first pitch to his dad. And while it was pretty cool to watch, it was also mildly heart breaking. Part of my childhood was now retired.

If you read the book, you know why I love the Yankees the way I do. Why for 21 years I've scared my friends and roommates screaming at the TV during playoff season, spent way too much money to go see games, and told Aaron Boone last year he gave me the best night of my life when he's never even seen me naked. 

Watching Jorge retire was watching part of the last 21 years get put on the shelf. 

But there's still Jeter. And Mariano. And now, gloriously, Andy Pettitte. There are still three who have been there for me through everything - my dad's death, every heart break, the selling of my childhood home, college, college graduation, 9/11. 

So when it was announced that Mariano Rivera tore his ACL shagging balls during BP last week, my heart sank. In weeks previous during Spring Training, he said he was aware of when he was going to retire and he was going to keep it to himself. Retirement was in the conversation, the mix. And now, with a torn ACL, it seemed imminent. 

I don't know why it hurt so bad. I think a lot of things were coming to a head - dealing with baseballer being completely out of my life (and knowing he was in someone else's), the house I grew up in being lived in by someone else, the depression thing, a lot of stuff. And losing Mo, it felt like another blow to things familiar. 

I know I talk a lot of shit, and I fool around with a lot of guys who play sports. But it all started with my love of the Yankees when I was 5, long before I cared what the guy looked like or how much fun it was to be naked with him. 

I watched the press conference where Mo tearfully explained the situation - but swore to come back. I cried a little. I know it sounds ridiculous, but it was like watching my dad cry. And it left me feeling uncomfortable, more so than I already had been feeling.

I love baseball. I will always love baseball, no matter how many athlete players I might date or fool around with who turn out to be shitty and make it hard for me to watch. My biggest hope is that this isn't Mo's retirement speech. That as much as I love Robertson, I get to see the last player to officially wear 42 take the mound again so when he is really done, I can appreciate everything he's given me in terms of memories and thoughts, feelings and emotions. Maybe it's retarded because he's just some closer whom I've never met (one of the few Yankees I can say that about), but he is part of my....growing up. Familiarity. And while this post is kind of pointless, I wanted to acknowledge what the Yanks and Mo have done in terms of my love for baseball and sports. 

I dont know if Mo will be back. I really fucking hope he is because I can't imagine him going out from an injury he got shagging balls when I've seen that dude dominate in the most stressful situations ever on the mound. But if he's not, I have two left. Two men who remind me every day that my childhood and adulthood are still connected. And that's both comforting and scary. I'm not ready to baseball grow up yet. 

Here's to hoping Mo makes a speedy recovery and has one more season in him. Seriously, watch this interview and try not to tear's tough. 

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